Putnam/ Dougherty family genealogy

Archive for the ‘Putnam Ancestors’ Category

52 Ancestors – The old Homestead

I always think of the ranch in Visalia when I think of the old Homestead, but I guess that was not an accurate title for it. I started searching online for the Visalia Plat map that would show the original configuration of the old home place. My siblings remember when our grandparents lived on the other side of the property (East side) and there was apparently a “prune orchard” between our house and Grandpa Ike’s place. It was called a prune orchard by the family because the plums where used to make prunes.

1913 (partial) Parcel map Tulare County

1913 (partial) Plat map Tulare County

This plat map is 1913 (click on image to enlarge). That was a year after my father was born. Highway 99 runs through the west side of the parcel shown as owned by J.F. Putnam (my great grandfather) ( in section 5) and highway 198 is at the north section line of section 32. Section 4 & 5 are in Township 19S, Range 24E  The piece next to JF Putnam (a little less then a quarter of a section) looks like it could be I.B. Putnam (it looks like he has a little less then a quarter of a section) and then W.H. Putnam (with a little greater then a quarter of a section). You can see the Oak Grove school district outline in red. If the Oak Grove school is in the north west corner of section 34, which is where I remember it being located, then the property was smaller than I had imagined. My father and Aunt Babe attended Oak Grove School. It was not that far of a walk but I do remember the pictures of dad at school without shoes. Later my older sister and brother also attended the same school, until Veva Blunt School was built.

1920 (partial) Plat Map Tulare County

1920 (partial) Plat Map Tulare County

By 1920 W.H. Putnam had sold out to what looks like Elmer N. Black. I have placed a red box around section 4 & 5. I. B. Putnam (Grandpa Ike, my father’s father) has the same parcel and J.F. Putnam (Grandpa Joe, my dad’s grandfather) property has remained the same. I do not know what year Grandpa Joe divided his piece between three of his children, but I had seen an article in the Visalia Times about when he gave property to the airport, which must have been around 1920. J.F. Putnam died in 1932.

Lloyd and Eunice

Lloyd and Eunice


The photo above is probable taken on the I.B. Putnam property about 1932. Due to Ike’s illness by 1948 he had sold off his parcel to a Mr. Swearanger and built a new home on the middle section of what had been Grandpa Joe’s parcel. Aunt Lena (Ike’s sister) had the acreage to the north and their other sister (Aunt Blanche) had the acreage to the south. For as long as I can remember Aunt Blanche lived in Los Angeles and she always had renters on her property in Visalia. It seems to me her renters, the Matos’s, kept a dairy. Aunt Lena maintained her property with help from various hired hands. After the “Dance Hall” burned down I remember Aunt Lena kept cattle in the field between her place and ours. Then the cattle were gone and she had watermelons growing in that field. I did not like stepping in cow dung or on rotten melons. I also remember her growing alfalfa.

I.B. Putnam (grandpa Ike) died in 1948. After he died I remember the fields east of our house had cotton for a long time. My grandmother (Ike’s wife, Gay) always had milk cows. In the early 1950’s the State of California bought more right-of-way along Hwy 99. My Dad had lost any interest he might have had in the Ranch and in 1956 we moved away. But the property there by Hwy 99 and the airport was always home to me.


52 Ancestors – Wedding of Dorothy and LLoyd

This weeks challenge theme was “Wedding”. My parents were married on May 22 1937 in Davis California. They constantly had this ongoing difference of opinion about their wedding date. One would swear it was the 21st and the other knew it was the 22 of May. Here is the actual license as recorded by the county of Yolo.

Marriage License Lloyd Fletcher Putnam and Dorothy Ada DOugherty

Marriage License
Lloyd Fletcher Putnam and Dorothy Ada Dougherty

The wedding took place at the home of the parents of the bride.

Dorothy Ada Dougherty and Lloyd Fletcher Putnam May 22, 1937

Dorothy Ada Dougherty and Lloyd Fletcher Putnam
May 22, 1937

When my sister married on 16 May 1987 (50 years later). She had Moms wedding gown redesigned for her.

16 May1987

16 May 1987

52 Ancestors – Ike Putnam

This weeks theme on Amy Johnson Crow’s 52 Ancestors – 52 Weeks is “favorite photograph”.
I love all the old photo’s we have of the California early days in the mountains near Visalia, California.

Ike Putnam Standing on steam donkey near the Sequoia"s circa. 1910

Ike Putnam Standing on steam donkey near the Sequoia”s circa. 1910

This Photo has A.R. Moore written in the lower right hand corner. Mr. Moore at one time had a photography studio in Porterville. When the studio was destroyed by fire about 1914 he retired. Today you can find several of his photo’s online and last month while working the Redwood Regional Logging Conference in Eureka I met another vendor who deals in old photos from the lumber camps of California. He said he had many of A.R. Moore photos from the Sequoia’s. This photo is one of several that our family has from when Ike Putnam, my grandfather, was working in the logging camps north east of Visalia. I have no idea who the other loggers in this photo are. But I love that we can see the kind of work that Ike was involved in and get a glimpse of the man himself at work.


52 Ancestors – Joseph Fletcher Putnam – Hiked through the Jungle

Joseph Fletcher Putnam

Joseph Fletcher Putnam

My paternal great grandfather was born in Cambridge Massachusetts 18 May 1852 to Joseph and Mary Ann (Fletcher) Putnam. Between the birth of young Joseph and his older sister Nellie, Joseph senior had traveled to the Goldfields in California, where he and a friend Edwin Whipple had a claim on the Mokolome River, and back again to Cambridge. The “Family Story”  is that the family left Boston by ship and landed on the Gulf of Mexico at Panama where they had to trek through the jungle walking across the isthmus of Panama to the Pacific Ocean. There they caught a steamer for San Francisco. Since the family is in the 1860 US Census in California Joseph would have been less then 7 years old and his older sister would have been younger then 12 years of age when the family made this trek. The 1860 US census shows that Joseph’s sister Lucy was just 4 months old in July when the census was taken and that she was born in California. Exactly when they arrived I have not completely documented.

1860 US Census Elliott Township San Joaquin County California

1860 US Census
Elliott Township San Joaquin County
California (Click on image to enlarge)



Joseph Fletcher Putnam grew up on his father’s orchard ranch in Clements California, which is about 23 miles northeast of Stockton California. At the age of 22 he met and married Fanny Stewart 18 years of age on 23 Febuary 1875 in Stockton California. The witnesses to the marriage were William Whipple and Lucy Fellows Putnam. William and Lucy later marry and raise a large family of their own.

Recorded Marriage Licence  Joseph Fletcher Putnam and Fanny Stewart

Recorded Marriage Licence
Joseph Fletcher Putnam and Fanny Stewart

Fanny was from Kansas, and I often wondered what she was doing out in California in 1875.  Fanny and Joseph had Grace Ellen  in Feb. 1875 and Alice was born 30 September 1876. In October of 1878 Fanny travels to Kansas to visit her family. Fanny took the 17 month old Alice with her and left 3 1/2 year old Grace at home with her father. Fanny and Alice never came back. In April of 1880 Joseph F. Putnam filed in Stockton California for a Divorce due to desertion, which was granted 20 April 1880 by A.V.D. Peterson, Judge of the Superior Court.

Divorce papers Joseph & Fanny Putnam

Divorce papers Joseph & Fanny Putnam

In the 1880 US Census Joseph Fletcher is alone in Hopeton Merced County California while his daughter Grace is with his parents in Clements (San Joaquin County) California.

On Dec. 30 1880 Joseph F. Putnam (age: 27) marries Ida May (Clough) Bryant (age: 25) in Stockton California. Ida May has three children from an earlier marriage to C.E. Bryant,  C.E. ‘Ed’ 8 years old, Allace 5 years of age, and Maude about 3 years old.

Marriage Lisence Record Joseph F. Putnam & Ida May Bryant

Marriage Lisence Record
Joseph F. Putnam & Ida May Bryant


Joseph and Ida May go on to have four more children together. Arthur dies in infancy, Ira B. is born in 1883, Lena A. is born in 1885 and Blanche A. is born in 1888.  Joseph’s second wife leaves him also and he is left with the children while his wife (Ida May)  appears in the 1900 census with a Charles Peters, a younger man.

900 US Census Alameda County California

1900 US Census Alameda County

Lena, Ira, Blanche Grace, and Joseph F. Putnam 1897 Photo courtesy of Frances Steggs

Lena, Ira, Blanche
Grace, and Joseph F. Putnam
Photo courtesy of Frances Steggs





In the 1900 US census we find Joseph Fletcher living and working in Alameda County California with his three children from his marriage to Ida May, Ira, Lena and Blanche.




Grace, his daughter from his first marriage, has married and is living in the same area with her husband (George Bryant) and their two children (William and May). I have not discovered if there is a connection to Grace’s step mother (Ida May) and Grace’s husband George. It was very confusing to me for her married name to be the same as her 1/2 brother and sisters. It took several years and the story of Joseph Fletchers first marriage to be revealed by the decendants of Alice Putnam (Grace’s full sister) from Colorado and New Mexico who made contact with my sister and I back in the early 1990’s. We then learned where Grace fit into the family and who her mother was and why there were two Alices and one was spelled differently by Aunt Blanche. Dear Aunt Blanche if she explained it to Madeleine and I, we did not understand, maybe because we were just teenager and not yet into genealogy. Anyway Madeleine’s notes were hard to follow, at least for me .

Information from Aunt Blanche

Information from Aunt Blanche

Back to Joseph Fletcher.  In the 1910 US census we find Joseph F. Putnam married to an Elizabeth.

1910 US Census Visalia Tulare County California

1910 US Census
Visalia Tulare County

From this census we see that they have been married 4 years.  All of Joseph’s children are either married or off on their own.

Joe & Elizabeth (Potter) Putnam

Joe & Elizabeth (Potter) Putnam

Here is the last photo I have of Joseph Fletcher Putnam and his wife Elizabeth.

In 2000 I found a Land Record on Roots Web for Joseph F. Putnam dated 08 October 1891 . It was a cash sale for a Parcel listed as Township 018S, Range 029E, Section 6.

Land Record Tulare County, California From Rootsweb.com 2000

Land Record
Tulare County, California
From Rootsweb.com 2000

My brother wrote me requarding my question to him about where the Elliott Ranch was. I am now wondering if this is the section that he was speaking of:

The Elliot ranch was next to Grandpa Ikes , property to the Northeast, it was 160 acres that was sold off of the original 640 that was willed to one of the relatives, do not remember who.  Aunt Lena, aunt Blanche and Grandpa Ike inherited the other quarter sections, possibly you know who the other sibling was.  Seems like there was another brother or sister who I do not remember.

At the time I found this record I also found a parcel that William P. Punam (Joseph F.’s brother) puchased in 1908. This was listed in Tulare county as, Township 021S, Range 028E, Section 28. Here is an opportunity for us to do a little investigation about these two pieces of property. I know from newspaper articles that the property immediately north of Aunt Lena’s place was given for an airport by Joseph Putnam and that the Visalia Airport has expanded to take more of what was Aunt Lena’s place.

1920 US Census Visalia Tulare County California

1920 US Census
Visalia Tulare County

1930 US Census Visalia Tulare county California

1930 US Census
Visalia Tulare county

The next 20 years  find joseph and Elizabeth in and around Visalia.

18 August 1931 Elizabeth dies.

On 13 December 1932 Joseph F. Putnam  dies.

Elizabeth and Joseph are buried in Visalia.

52 Ancestors ~ #45 Timothy Putnam II

Okay, so this week’s challenge from “52 Ancestors 52 Weeks” that Amy Crow has issued, is to write about the ancestor closest to your birthday.  No one else was born on my birthday. So I had to look at those before and after my birthday. I picked Timothy Putnam II not only because he was born on 4 October 1760, he also was a stumbling block in connecting to our original immigrant.

Timothy Putnam is my paternal 4th great grandfather. He was the oldest son of Timothy Putnam (I) and Susanne Badger  born in Charlestown, Sullivan County, New Hampshire.  A lot is known about the Putnam’s of the Salem Witch Trials and Timothy II’s grandfather Seth Putnam was born to Thomas and Ann (Carr) Putnam near the end of the witch hysteria. Seth and his wife Ruth (Whipple) relocated to New Hampshire probably soon after their marriage since the eldest is noted as being born in Charlestown New Hampshire. Being the son and brother of two of the accusers I imagine he was anxious to leave all that behind, and being the eleventh child his prospects in Danvers, Massachusetts were limited.

Seth and Ruth went on to raise 8 children, Timothy II’s father Timothy I was their eighth child.

Timothy II married Sarah Hewitt 4 October 1778 and their first child Sarah (1) was born 4 Nov 1779 in Langdon, Sullivan county, New Hampshire. Timothy was just 19 years old and his wife Sarah was only 15 years old.

Their son Timothy III (2) (my 3rd great grandfather) was their second child born on 13 July 1781 in Langdon, New Hampshire.

Then Abraham (3) is born 27, July 1883. Samuel (4) 18 July 1785, Betsey (5) 3 May 1788, and Olive (6) 5 Feb. 1791. Olive dies two months later.

1790 US Census Charleston, Cheshire, New Hampshire

1790 US Census
Charleston, Cheshire, New Hampshire

Click on image to enlarge and note: This is the first US Census, Timothy Putnam is on the 7th line. According to this there is one male between 5 and 10 that would be correct for Timothy III, there are 2 males between 20 and 30, that would be correct for Timothy II and another male, this could possibly be a brother or a hired hand. Under the listing of male 60-70 one is noted, this would be right for Timothy I. Listed under females they show one age 10 to 20 this could be Sarah, (3) 13. There are 2 other females in the family listed 60-70. Well that just does not make sense. Sarah the mother should be about 26 while her mother-in-law would be about 54. and where are the other children? Maybe we need to look at Sarah’s family. Maybe Sarah and her children are actually at her parents home when the census was taken.

Their next child is Polly (7) born 27 May 1792, then Moses (8) 12 October 1796, John (9) 24 June 1799.

1800 US Census Charlestown New Hampshire

1800 US Census
Charlestown New Hampshire

On this census we find Timothy Putnam and family four up from the bottom of the page. The first column is for males under the age of 10. There should actually be two noted both John born in 1799 and Moses born in 1796. The next column is from 10 thru 15 and that should be Samuel. Next is age 16 thru 25 and works out good for Abraham and Timothy III. The next column is for 26 thru 44 and that works out for Timothy II. Under females we have 3 under 10, that only matches up to Polly. Betsy is 12 and should be in the next column and Olive died in 1791 so she would not be shown. Sarah the mother would be 36 and is probably listed in the next to the last column which is for females 26 thru 44.

Oliver (#10 child) is born 6 June 1802, Joseph (11) 16 November 1804, then Benjamin (12) 16 November 1804. They lose Benjamin on 6 August 1808 before his 4th birthday. Their last child Susannah (13) is born 30 June 1809. Sarah must have been one strong woman to survive all those births.

All of these children are listed in the town records as born in Langdon, Sullivan County, New Hampshire, yet the census taken during this period list the family in Charlestown. which is listed as Cheshire county through the 1820 US Census and Sullivan county starting with the 1830 census.

The province of New Hampshire was divided into five counties in 1771. One of these was named Cheshire. Charlestown was made a shire-town.  5 July 1827, the county was divided, the northern portion taking the name of Sullivan County.

The above info came from http://www.nh.searchroots.com/cheshire.html

1810 US Census Charlestown New Hampshire

1810 US Census
Charlestown New Hampshire

In this 1810 US Census for Charlestown we find 5 Putnam families. One is Samuel (4) Putnam and another is Abraham (3) Putnam But no Timothy. There is a Thomas Jr. could that be our Timothy II? I do not think so, Timothy II would be 49 years old and his wife would be 46. There is no one listed in those age groups in Abraham or Samuels family either. Looking at the 1820 US Census we do find Timothy Putnam.

120 US Census Charlestown New Hampshire

120 US Census
Charlestown New Hampshire

Here we see  a few more columns, the first column is male under 10 years of age and we have no listing there for the Timothy family. Next we have one at 10 and under 16 possibly Joseph, none listed from 16 to under 18, three from 16 to under 26 which may include Oliver, John, and Moses, none 26 to under 45, one  over 45 which should be Timothy II now 59 years old. On the female side  we have none under 10, one age 10 to under 16 which would be Susannah age 11, two age 16 to under 26 may or may not be older daughters Polly  and Betsey, none age 26 to under 45, and one over 45 who I will assume is the mother Sarah.

Sarah their first born died in 1814. She may have married a Joseph Currier. Need to research further to verify.

Timothy’s mother Susanna (Badger) Putnam dies  7 April 1816.

1830 US Census Charlestown New Hampshire

1830 US Census
Charlestown New Hampshire

Here is the 1830 Census for Charlestown with Timothy Putnam. Apparently people are living long so they have added more columns. Timothy II is now 69 and we can find him in the ninth column which is for free males age 60 -70 which works. Sarah is now 66 years and she is found in the 9th column on the female side along with another female in the same age group 60-70. The first column to hold a mark is the male ages 5-10  and then there are two free males in the 20-30 age group. In the household there is also one female age 20-30 that could be either an unmarried daughter or a daughter-in-law to one of the boys listed in the same age group.

It certainly was more convenient for genealogist when the United States started listing by name all of the members and their relationship to the head of house. First in 1850 they listed all members of a household by name then in 1880 the relationship to head of household was included.

To continue chronicling  the life of Timothy II we learn that on 13 February 1834 Timothy III dies in Ludlow, Vermont leaving my 2x great grandfather, Joseph Putnam an orphan at age 11. At this point our Timothy II is 73 years of age and Sarah is 70 years old. Joseph is sent to live with his grandfather. I imagine that Joseph is just settling in, having moved from Ludlow Vermont to Charlestown New Hampshire ( a move of about 22 miles along VT route 10), losing his mother in 1833, then his father the next year, then grandpa Timothy dies on 18 May 1835. While Timothy II had  lived a long life for that period, young Joseph is uprooted once again and sent off to live with an uncle, possibly Joseph or John. I imagine it was too much to expect Sarah to raise her grandson alone at her age.

Five years later Sarah dies 24 November 1840.





52 Ancestors-#36- Ira Blossom Putnam- Grandpa Ike

Ira "Ike" Blosspm Putnam

Ira “Ike” Blossom Putnam

Best known to all by “Ike”, he was born Ira Blossom Putnam on 30 March 1883 in Three Rivers, California. The son of Joseph Fletcher Putnam and Ida May Clough.  That name always bothered me, not Ike but Blossom. It was especially strange that every cow we ever had was called “Blossom”. When my sister and I were working on the family history we had this  “Aha!” moment. We discovered that Ike’s mothers step father was Ira Blossom. Blossom being his surname. So Ike was actually named after his step grandfather.

From the time that Ike and his two sisters were born until about 1892 the Putnam family lived in Three Rivers, California. In the Voter Registration book for Fresno County in October 1892 Joseph Putnam registered to vote. The precinct was called Sequoia and the Post Office was Camp Badger. Whether the whole family was living there is hard to know, possible since Ida May’s mother and step father were also living in Three Rivers, Ida May and the kids stayed there while her husband worked at Camp Badger to earn extra money. It may have been a logging camp. I have not found any information on Camp Badger. I did find a small community called Badger in Tulare county north of Visalia at approximately 3,000 ft. elevation near Sequoia and Kings Canyon. Could be the place.

In 1894 Ike’s grand father Joseph Putnam died in Clements California.

In 1896 I found Joseph Fletcher Putnam is in the Voter Registration book for San Joaquin County listed as a farmer in Clements. I take it that Joseph has gone home to Clements to take care of his fathers farm.

In the 1896 Voter Registration book for San Joaquin County Joseph Fletcher Putnam is still there. This time He is listed as a Saloonkeeper.  So is his family in Clements?

The next record I have is 1897 where Ida May marries a Charles Peters in Tulare County. They later move to Los Angeles.

In the 1898 Voter Registration book for San Joaquin County, Joseph Fletcher Putnam is still there and is again listed as a Saloonkeeper.

I found it interesting that Ike’s father moved up and down California so much and wondered if the kids were shuffled along with him or did they stay in Three Rivers all this time?

1900 US Census Santa Clara, California

1900 US Census
Santa Clara, California

In the 1900 census we have Ira B. Putnam at 16 years of age with his father and his two sisters, Lena and Blanche, in Santa Clara.

Lena, Ike, Blanche Grace and Joseph F. Putnam

Lena, Ike, Blanche
Grace and Joseph F. Putnam

They were not his only siblings. His father had been married previously and he had two older sisters Grace being the eldest and Alice who I believe Ike may have never met. His mother was also married previously and she had C.E. (Ed) Bryant, Maud Bryant, and Allace (Alice) Bryant.  In this same year (1900)Grace, Ike’s older sister, has married a George Bryant and that family is living in Alameda, not so far away.  “And that’s another story.”

Later that year (1900) Joseph Fletcher marries Elizabeth Potter.

Anyway back to Ike. On 15 July 1907 Ike married Etta Jane Francis in Visalia California.

Ira (Ike)  and Etta Jane Putnam Wedding 15 July 1907

Ira (Ike) and Etta Jane Putnam
Wedding 15 July 1907

The 1910 US Census shows Ike and Etta in Visalia. They are shown on the county road Goshen to Tulare. Ike is shown as a farmer who owns his place free and clear. From this I would ascertain that they are on the Ranch that my older brother and sister remember. Which would now be between the end of  Walnut Ave. and Hwy 99 West of Visalia.

1910 US Census Visalia, Tulare County, California

1910 US Census
Visalia, Tulare County, California



Etta, "Ike" and baby LLoyd

Etta, “Ike” and baby Lloyd

Their son, Lloyd was born 3 May 1912 and their daughter, Eunice was born 20 Feb. 1914.


"Babe" (Eunice) and Lloyd

“Babe” (Eunice) and Lloyd

From the 1910 census until his death “Ike ” lived and worked the Ranch outside of Visalia.

His mother died in Los Angeles February 1932. and his father died later that same year in December in Visalia.

Ike died 19 April 1948.

My paternal grandfather died before I could know him. I was sure my siblings all would have memories. My brother who is 6 years older then me wrote:

I was six or seven when he passed away,  do not really remember much.  They had sold the major portion of the ranch and had only kept the 20 acres where we grew up.  I remember before they sold the ranch, going to the milk barn with dad and the milk man would always put me on the roof to be out of his way.  That was when they would come to pick up the milk in the milk cans.  Also remember picking up prunes after they were shaken from the tree.  When they killed a hog they would scald it in a big iron tub and scrape the hair off the hide.  Mom would render the fat and we would have cracklings. After they sold that portion of the ranch and built the house between the one we lived in and aunt babes, he had cancer and they amputated his leg.  I remember him walking on crutches.  I have a picture from grandma Gay of him and Dad, holding a rattle snake he had killed. He loved the three rivers area, and we had relatives’ there.  He was always kind and thoughtful

So then my older sister who is 8 years older called me to relate her stories to me.

I remember when the family would go Posting up to Three Rivers. That’s  what they called it when they would go get Posts for the Ranch. There were rattlesnakes everywhere. Out there where that big oak tree was, was a Prune orchard. When Sweringer bought that piece he took all those Prune trees out and planted cotton. I use to follow him (Grandpa Ike) around when he picked blackberries in the garden, he had a big garden. I’ve never found nectarines as good as Ike’s. Maybe because he grafted everything. I remember the pomegranate tree, it was there as you drove up the lane and came around the house on the left you could see the pomegranate tree.

When I asked about his having his leg amputated she said:

Yes they had to do it twice. They took it off below the knee and then they had to go back in and take more. I was really devastated. All I really remember is his lying there in that bed at the house.

So my other sister who is just eighteen months older really has no memories. She does have a photo that has a story about her taking an egg to Grandpa Ike to show him.

I.B. Putnam Visalia Times 1948

I.B. Putnam
Visalia Times 1948



52 Ancestors ~ #27-Joseph Putnam – A Forty-Niner

My 2x great paternal grandfather was Joseph Putnam. The “family story” was told about his son at about five or six years of age walking across the Isthmus of Panama with his family, where they then caught a steam ship up the coast to San Francisco. That should have been between 1857-59.  When my sister decided to help with the research she took the paternal (Putnam) line and I kept the maternal (Dougherty) line. As a result most of this research is hers.  For about 20 years Joseph became our brick wall. We were at the time unable to spend a lot of time doing our research, we both were busy with our careers. I had trouble finding where Joseph Putnam was originally born, but  I had been able to trace him back to where he married Mary Ann Fletcher 28 May 1848 in Cambridge, Mass.

Cambridge Mass. Marriages

Cambridge Mass.

Cambridge, Mass.  Marriages (pg. 2)

Cambridge, Mass.
Marriages (pg. 2)


The 1850 census shows Mary Ann Putnam in her parents household (Benjamin Fletcher) with a daughter, Mary E. Putnam (3).

1850 US Census Cambridge, Mass

1850 US Census
Cambridge, Mass

The age of Mary Ann Putnam is mixed up with her mothers age ( her mother Mary Ann Fletcher is shown as 20 and she is shown as 45). Mary E Putnam  was actually shown in the Cambridge vital records as born 16  July 1848.


Cambridge, Massachusetts  Record of birth Mary E.Putnam

Cambridge, Massachusetts
Record of birth
Mary E.Putnam

From our research at the California State Archives we know that Joseph Putnam came to California During the Gold rush. Gold was discovered at Sutter’s Mill in Coloma, Eldorado county, California on the American River,  24 January 1948. From a list in the Illustrated History of San Joaquin County published in 1890 there is a list (see below) of arrivals of San Joaquin County citizens to the county.

Illustrated History of San Joaquin County  Published 1890 The Lewis Publishing Company

Illustrated History of San Joaquin County
Published 1890
The Lewis Publishing Company

It shows a Joseph Putnam, native of Vermont, arrived July 1849 by way of the Cape Horn (sailing around the Cape) on the vessel “Pharsalla”. In this list you can see if you are a native of an east coast state you would most likely travel by sea around the Cape or take a ship to Panama, cross the Isthmus and then take another ship up to San Francisco. Mid Westerners most often took the Overland trail. The Railroad had not as yet connected the east coast with the west coast. This was a great migration to the west coast by dangerous means of transportation, your choice.

In another account we found the story of Joseph Putnam landing in San Francisco and then taking a Row boat through the delta and up the Mokelumne River to the gold fields. Since having read that account I’ve thought that would be quite the adventure to reenact his journey  today. The Bay at San Francisco would have been filled with sailing ships and steam ships. No Bridges and during the winter a very soggy trip to the mining camps.The best time for traveling would have been in the summer once the spring run off had died down and the ground in the valleys had dried out, remember no dams on the rivers controlling the waters coming off the mountains from the snow thaw.

Cambridge, Massachusetts Birth Record Joseph F. Putnam

Cambridge, Massachusetts
Birth Record
Joseph F. Putnam

Joseph and Mary Ann Putnam’s second child Joseph F. Putnam is born on 18 May 1852 in Cambridge. That means that Joseph had returned to his wife and child sometime by Sept 1951. He is not in Massachusetts in the 1850 census nor is he in San Joaquin county with his friend,  and later business partner/neighbor Edwin Whipple.  From later Biographical Records  of the San Joaquin Valley, California we know that  Mary Ann and at least Joseph came about 1859 by way of Panama.

Click picture to enlarge.

Click picture to enlarge.

From this account Joseph was a miner in Calaveras and Amador counties, then went into the mercantile business in Volcano and later located on the Mokelumne river in San Joaquin county.

In 1851 another account on the History of San Joaquin county has “Edwin Whipple and Joseph Putnam located the New England ranch”. Yet another account state “A farm of 320 acres was located in 1851 by Messrs. Putnam, Howard, and Whipple.”

There was a 1852 California Census after statehood that shows Edwin Whipple in Elliott Township but no Putnam.

From a newspaper clipping 19 November 1859 at the board of Supervisors meeting for San Joaquin County, Joseph Putnam was appointed road overseer for District 8, for one year.

Joseph Putnam 1823-1894

Joseph Putnam

In the 1860 US Census, Elliott Township we find Joseph Putnam (36) farmer, Mary A. (30), Mary E. (11), Joseph F. (7) and Lucy E. (4 mos.)

1860 US Census Elliott Township San Joaquin County California

1860 US Census
Elliott Township San Joaquin County

17 November 1862 a deed in the county of San Joaquin between David Howard and Joseph Putnam for the sum of one dollar and other consideration “being a part of section thirteen, township four North, range eight  East and described as follows commencing……… containing 43.74 acres”  was recorded by Jos. Putnam. Also the following record was recorded directly below between Edwin Whipple and Jos. Putnam on the 17 November 1862  for the sum of one dollar and other considerations “being part of Section twelve, township four North, range eight East and described as follows commencing ……”

1862 San Joaquin County Recorded Deed D. Howard & Jos. Putnam

1862 San Joaquin County
Recorded Deed
D. Howard & Jos. Putnam

1862 San Joaquin County Recorded Deed E. Whipple & Jos. Putnam

1862 San Joaquin County
Recorded Deed
E. Whipple & Jos. Putnam

The 1870 US census shows a much larger family. Joseph Putnam (47) is listed as a Farmer with a real estate valve as 5000 and a personal estate valve of 1000. Joseph is shown in this census as being born in New Hampshire. His wife Mary (40) keeping house was born in Mass. The next 6 children are all born in California starting with Lucy (10), Willie (8), Ben (6), Ed (5), Mary (3) and Lena (2). Nellie (Mary E.) born in Massachusetts is now 22 and listed as a Domt. Servant while Joseph (17) is a farm laborer. They have a cook Ah Hoo born in China and two farm laborers both born in Indiana a Jos. Homb (40) and H. Sutton (27).

1870 US census Elliott township San Joaquin, California

1870 US census
Elliott township San Joaquin, California

10  October 1874 Joseph won a Special Premium at the San Joaquin County Fair for his bale of Hops plus special mention of watermelons and squashes, as reported in the San Francisco Bulletin Vol:39, Issue:3, Page 1 from genealogybank.com

On 21 December 1876 Benjamin F. Putnam died at 13 years of Age and then nine days later Laura Putnam dies at 8 years. Both were buried in the Family Plot in Clements, California.

There is a land record for Joseph Booth dated 30 January 1880 Acquired Military Scrip Warrant Patent for Parcel 004N, Range 008E, Section 12. In San Joaquin, California Meridian or Watershed: MD.  What are military scrip warrants? Since you can ‘google’ anything, I looked up “Military Scrip Warrant Patent”. This  is scrip that had been issued to veterans of the War of 1812 (or to their heirs) for volunteering. They were to be awarded 160 acres of land. But this is so much later, and in nothing I read did they talk about land in California. If anyone has further information on this I would love to hear from you.

Back to Joseph’s Story. I found a newspaper article at genealogybank.com from the San Francisco Bulletin dated Wednesday April 14, 1880, (Volume: 1, Issue:6, Page:2) that reports on a Superior Court Action , “New suits have been instituted in the General Departments of the Superior Court as follows: B. Von Ammon against Joseph Putnam, to recover $3,500. damages on a guarantee by defendant that an invoice of hops were in good condition for shipment to England, which goods proved worthless on reaching their destination.”

In 1891 the Stockton City Directory for Clements lists a Joseph Putnam, farmer.

23 June 1894 Joseph Putnam died in Clements, San Joaquin county, California  at 71 years of age.

Madeleine and I took these photo’s when we visited there in 1993. Madeleine, I still have that tee shirt. Thanks for all your hard sleuthing on Joseph.

Clements cemetery

Well that was not the complete history of Joseph. If you have stuck with me you are probably wondering about his early years. Joseph was the 12th child born to Timothy  (3) Putnam and Betsy Hall on 13th April 1823 in Ludlow, Vermont. Joseph’s mother (Betsy) dies 27 August 1833 and then just six months later his father Timothy (3) Putnam died 13 February 1834. Joseph is almost 11 and is sent to live with is grandfather Timothy (2) Putnam in Charlestown New Hampshire who dies the following year in 1835 (date unknown) from there he is sent to an Uncle (may have been another Joseph Putnam) where we presume he stayed until moving to Massachusetts. New Hampshire is where Edwin Whipple was born and raised and where we assumed Joseph met his future partner and neighbor. Life was certainly difficult for young Joseph. I can not imagine what it must have been like to lose so much in just three years. There are still lots of little unanswered questions but that is enough for this blog.

Next weeks blog will be on Phillip Henry Bender from Germany to Russia to America.



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